Press release

Highway Code celebrates 80 years on the road

One of Britain's best selling and most iconic publications, the Highway Code, is 80 years-old on 14 April 2011.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The first edition was published on 14 April 1931 in a bid to cut down on the number of accidents taking place on Britain’s roads. Despite the fact there were just 2.3 million motor vehicles at the time, over 7,000 people were killed in road accidents that year.

The Highway Code quickly became the ‘must read’ publication for those using the road and is now recognised the world over. The Code is now used by millions of drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians every year and has even been featured in TV drama storylines.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:

The Highway Code is the official guide to using the roads safely and responsibly. The Code has helped to save thousands of lives over the last 80 years, which is cause for celebration.

The Highway Code is not just for new drivers, it holds crucial information for everyone from experienced motorists and motorcyclists to horse riders and pedestrians.

The publication offers the latest information on the rules of the roads and road safety advice, as well as promoting greater courtesy and understanding among all road users. Its long-standing success is one of the reasons why Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world.

The Highway Code has moved with the times and is now available in a variety of formats, including online from GOV.UK, as a download and on CD ROM with a voice-over for people with reading difficulties.

The Highway Code on GOV.UK

Published 14 April 2011